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Bellingham Bulletin

MA Laws Relating to You and Your Auto

Jan 15, 2019 12:06PM ● By Pamela Johnson
1) Do you have to remove snow and ice from the roof of your vehicle before driving on public roads? Surprisingly, the answer in Massachusetts is “no”; however, police have the right to ticket the operator of a truck or a car that endangers others when snow or ice flies off it. 
 
2) If you barely make contact with another vehicle while parking or driving your car, are you legally obligated to leave a note? The answer is “yes.” Even though there may be no visible damage, it is always possible that there is some hidden damage.
 
3) Can a policeman give you a ticket if you are talking on your cell phone while driving?  The answer is “yes”; however, there is no specific Massachusetts law that prohibits being on your cell phone while driving unless you are still subject to the junior operator law. It is up to the police officer’s discretion as to whether they believe your being on a cell phone presented a hazard.
 
4) Does Massachusetts law prohibit you from using a cemetery as a shortcut? The answer is “no.” All public roads in Massachusetts are open for use unless a “no trespassing” sign is posted or barriers are in place.
 
5) If you buy and then register a used car which has a valid Massachusetts safety inspection sticker on the windshield, are you required to get a new sticker before the sticker on the car expires? The correct answer is “yes.” Every vehicle that is newly registered is required to get a new safety inspection sticker within 7 days. The new sticker will reflect the license plate number issued to you. If you rely on the old sticker, it will reflect the former license plate number. Many people choose not to get new stickers because the level of enforcement is quite low.
 
6) Is it illegal in Massachusetts to have a filled gas can in your SUV? The answer is “yes.” It’s against the law to have a filled gas can in the passenger area of a vehicle, and since SUVs don’t have trunks, all the space within an SUV is passenger area. 
 
7) Does your seat belt have to be properly adjusted and fastened according to your owner’s manual to avoid getting a ticket?  The answer is “yes.”  Tucking the shoulder-chest strap behind you is illegal, even though it might be more comfortable.
 
8) Do Massachusetts inspection stations now use special cameras to determine whether your license plate is too faded to pass inspection? The answer is “no.” Despite the fact that the inspector will take pictures of your license plate, it’s still up to him to “eyeball” it and decide whether your plate is too faded.
 

 Written by Dick Ostrander, owner of Ostrander Insurance (www.OstranderInsurance.com). Ostrander Insurance offers homeowners, automobile and life insurance The office is conveniently located across the street from the  Bellingham Post Office. For more information, contact Dick at 508-966-1116.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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